Baby Boomer Bad Boys

Posted on May 24th, 2011 in 1980s,1990s,Celebrities,Crime,Me Generation,Pop Culture by Terry Hamburg

They never sought to be baby boomer celebrities, just filthy rich. One was busted for insider trading – that means behind-the-scenes, as in stealth. When caught, he ratted out another high roller who was quietly and illegally manipulating billions in “junk bonds.” The pair became overnight pop culture poster boys for 1980s corporate crime.

“Greed is good,” proclaimed Gordon Gekko in the 1990 movie Wall Street. The character was a composite of real life personalities, most notably bad boys Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken.

In fact, Boesky provided some of script, stating in a commencement address: “Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.”

Ivan the Terrible, top
Junk Bond King, bottom

Both gave a new cutting edge to the baby boomer “me-generation.”

Boesky was arrested in 1986 for buying, stealing and finagling secret information about corporate takeovers and acquisitions, then “betting” on these sure things. Milken ran  a complex pyramid scheme, making huge fees by refinancing corporate debt.

Milken served two years for multiple charges, including six felony counts of securities fraud. Boesky took a plea bargain and agreed to a $100 million fine and three years. Both spent time in a minimum security “Fed-Med.” They were barred for life from trading. Milken was hit with a whopping $1 billion penalty. No big deal. He made that much in four years during the 1980s.

Since prison, Boesky has kept a low profile. Milken reinvented himself as a business consultant and crusader against prostate cancer after surviving the disease.

Baby Boomer Trivia Questions

Leona Helmsely, billionaire hotel owner and real estate investor, was convicted of tax evasion in 1993. She said to her housekeeper: “Only the little people pay taxes.” What was her nickname?

The Miser Mistress
The Pyranha
The Queen of Mean
Little Cesarina

The term Ponzi Scheme – an investment ploy that has no investment and shuffles money from one client to anothercomes from:

• The Ponzi bridge in Venice connecting the rich to the poor section
• The Latin word for “swindle”
• A criminal named Ponzi
• Ponzi River near Naples that to this day stinks from dead fish every summer

Boomer Match Game: Connect the person to the financial scandal:

Charles Keating
Charles Van Doran
Ken Lay
James Bakker

Enron/Savings & Loan/Quiz show/Church funds

Answers at end of post

This Day in Baby Boomer History

1993: Kim Basinger files for bankruptcy to avoid paying a $7.4 million settlement.

1992: Al Unser, Jr. wins the Indy 500.

1989: Indiana Jones and Last Crusade premieres.

1983Al Unser, Sr. at age 47 wins his fourth Indy 500.

1987: Supreme Court rules that governments can deny tax breaks to schools that practice racial discrimination.

1974: Last Dean Martin Show airs.

1969: Beatles’ Get Back shoots to #1 and stays there for 5 weeks.

1964: Hello, Dolly beats out Funny Girl for Best Musical. Carol Channing as Dolly wins Best Musical Actress over Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice.

1964: Beatles’ third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1961: 27 Freedom (Bus) Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.

1959: First house with a built-in bomb shelter is exhibited.

1954: IBM announces a vacuum tube “electronic” brain that can perform 10 million operations an hour.

1951: Racial segregation in Washington D.C. restaurants is declared illegal.

1951: Willie Mays begins playing for New York Giants.

Answers to Baby Boomer Trivia Questions

“The Queen of Mean”

Can you believe that sweetheart Suzanne Plushette played her in the movie?

Ponzi Scheme was named after one Charles Ponzi who became notorious for using the technique in early the 1920s. His scam raked in so much money that it was the first such operation to become generally known throughout the United States.

Boomer Match Game

Charles Keating→ Savings & Loan
Charles Van Doran Quiz show
Ken Lay Enron
James BakkerChurch funds

Related Post
: Can’t get enough of white collar crime? Read: Baby Boomer Fake Out

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